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SQI: Simpson Querry Institute

News and Announcements

Read the most recent Simpson Querrey Institute (SQI) news below, and subscribe to our newsletters to stay informed about what is happening at SQI.
Shana Kelley portrait

Kelley awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

April 18, 2022
SQI member Shana Kelley was one of three Northwestern University faculty members recently named a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. With the fellowship, Kelley will develop a new class of sensors for the human body that will enable continuous monitoring of biochemical markers of health and disease.
SARS-CoV-2 spike protein

New COVID-19 nasal spray outperforms current antibody treatments in mice

April 14, 2022
A new protein-based antiviral nasal spray developed by SQI member Michael Jewett and colleagues at Northwestern University, University of Washington and Washington University at St. Louis is being advanced toward Phase I human clinical trials to treat COVID-19. Designed computationally and refined in the laboratory, the new protein therapies thwarted infection by interfering with the virus’ ability to enter cells. Notably, the top protein also neutralized all tested SARS-CoV-2 variants, something that many clinical antibodies have failed to do.
Macrophages and lymphatic cells

Lymphatics aid heart repair

April 5, 2022
Expression of a pro-lymphangiogenic growth factor after heart injury activates the lymphatic system, spurring leukocytes to help clear away dying cells, according to a study co-led by SQI member Guillermo Oliver and published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The findings cement the lymphatic system’s role in repair after heart attack and has both theoretical and practical therapeutic implications, the researchers said.

Mussels’ underwater glue inspires synthetic cement

March 15, 2022

Using a novel method to arrange molecules, researchers led by SQI member Nathan Gianneschi have created a material that outperforms the extraordinarily strong glue secreted by mussels. Their findings expand on how these protein-like polymers can be used as a platform to create new materials and therapeutics.

“The polymer could be used as an adhesive in a biomedical context, which means now you could stick it to a specific tissue in the body and keep other molecules nearby in one place, which would be useful in wound healing or repair,” Gianneschi said.

Evan Scott

Scott elected as AIMBE fellow

February 18, 2022
SQI member Evan Scott has been elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows, the AIMBE announced. Scott was cited for “outstanding contributions to understanding immunological processes contributing to diverse inflammation-driven pathologies, and for therapeutic approaches using biomaterial-based strategies.”
Lou Simpson

SQI remembers Lou Simpson

February 15, 2022
SQI leadership released a statement about the January 8 death of Lou Simpson, whose generous philanthropy has enabled the Institute's investigators to pursue innovative research in regenerative nanomedicine.

Tumors dramatically shrink with new approach to cell therapy

January 28, 2022

Researchers led by SQI member Shana Kelley have developed a new tool to harness immune cells from tumors to fight cancer rapidly and effectively.

Their findings, published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, showed a dramatic shrinkage of tumors in mice compared to traditional cell therapy methods. With a novel microfluidic device that could be 3D printed, the team multiplied, sorted through and harvested hundreds of millions of cells, recovering 400% more of the tumor-eating cells than current approaches.

Guillermo Ameer

Ameer awarded the Technology Innovation and Development Award

January 26, 2022
SQI member Guillermo Ameer has received the 2022 Technology Innovation and Development Award, the Society For Biomaterials announced. The award recognizes an individual’s (or a team’s) successful application of basic and applied biomaterials research in the development of a novel medical product or technology that significantly benefits the health and well-being of patients.
ANTEC video trainings

ANTEC enhances training procedures during COVID-19 pandemic

January 20, 2022
Starting in the summer of 2020, the Analytical bioNanotechnology Equipment Core (ANTEC) overhauled its training procedures, enhancing hands-on guidance with a combination of illustrated, step-by-step user guides and detailed instructional videos. Ever since, the flexibility to provide either in-person or remote training has become a part of the core’s routine.
Nanotherapy for Type 1 diabetes

Nanotherapy offers new hope for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes

January 19, 2022
A team of researchers at Northwestern University led by SQI members Evan Scott and Guillermo Ameer has discovered a technique to help make immunomodulation more effective following islet transplantation. The findings could lead to a breakthrough in the treatment of Type 1 diabetes.
Susan Quaggin

Quaggin elected to National Academy of Inventors

December 8, 2021
SQI faculty member Susan Quaggin has been elected as a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. She joins the academy’s roster of fellows selected for prolific innovations that have made an impact on the quality of life, economic development or welfare of society.
Spinal cord section

‘Dancing molecules’ successfully repair severe spinal cord injuries

November 11, 2021
Researchers led by SQI director Samuel Stupp have developed a new injectable therapy that harnesses “dancing molecules” to reverse paralysis and repair tissue after severe spinal cord injuries. In a new study published in Science, they administered a single injection to tissues surrounding the spinal cords of paralyzed mice. Just four weeks later, the animals regained the ability to walk.
Michael Vincent

Meet the Researchers: Michael Vincent

October 28, 2021
Michael Vincent is a graduate student in biomedical engineering who is co-advised by Mark Johnson and SQI member Evan Scott. In this interview, Vincent discusses his primary projects in the Scott Lab and the work he is currently doing at Grove Biopharma, a startup based on technology developed in the laboratory of SQI member Nathan Gianneschi.
Guillermo Ameer

Ameer named to National Academy of Medicine

October 18, 2021
SQI member Guillermo Ameer has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. Ameer was selected “for pioneering contributions to regenerative engineering and medicine through the development, dissemination, and translation of citrate-based biomaterials."
Samuel Stupp portrait

SQI director Samuel Stupp to receive Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry

September 29, 2021
SQI director Samuel Stupp will receive the 2022 American Chemical Society Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry. Stupp was selected “for his fundamental and groundbreaking work on the supramolecular chemistry of peptide amphiphiles and on their remarkable functionality in biological regeneration.”
CITRELOCK tendon fixation devices

Northwestern-invented biomaterial moves from lab bench to orthopaedic market

September 27, 2021
A medical product based on novel biomaterials pioneered in the laboratory of SQI member Guillermo Ameer will be widely available for use in musculoskeletal surgeries to directly benefit patients. The biomaterial technology, called CITREGEN™, has unique chemical and mechanical properties for orthopaedic surgical applications that help grafted tissue heal.

Hersam named fellow of the American Chemical Society

August 5, 2021

SQI member Mark Hersam is one of 49 members of the American Chemical Society (ACS) who has recently been named an ACS fellow. The fellows program, started in 2009, recognizes members who have made outstanding contributions to science, the profession, and the ACS.

Hersam is the Walter P. Murphy Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and the director of the Materials Research Center at Northwestern.

Mark Hersam portrait

Two Northwestern faculty receive inaugural Stoddart Award

June 23, 2021
SQI faculty member Mark Hersam and fellow Northwestern University professor Omar Farha have received the inaugural AAAFM-Stoddart Award from the American Association for Advances in Functional Materials (AAAFM). Hersam received the award for his “pioneering contributions to the synthesis, surface science, chemical functionalization and application of low-dimensional nano-electronic materials.”

COVID-19 PCR tests can be freeze dried

June 10, 2021

Northwestern University researchers led by SQI member Michael Jewett have discovered that commercially available polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests can withstand the freeze-drying process, making them shelf-stable for up to 30 days and 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) without sacrificing sensitivity and accuracy. 

The new strategy could help ease logistical challenges, making the “gold standard” tests for COVID-19 more available to help schools, businesses and sporting events safely reopen. It also could be a particularly powerful option for low-resource settings that lack access to reliable electricity and refrigeration.

Jonathan Rivnay portrait

Implantable ‘living pharmacy’ could control body’s sleep/wake cycles

May 13, 2021
A multi-institution team of researchers led by SQI faculty member Jonathan Rivnay has signed a cooperative agreement with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a wireless, fully implantable device that will control the body’s circadian clock, halving the time it takes to recover from disrupted sleep/wake cycles. SQI member Guillermo Ameer is also part of the investigative team, which will receive up to $33 million in funding support over four-and-a-half years.
Formation of lymphatic endothelial progenitor cells

Mitochondria play key role in lymphatic development

May 5, 2021
Mitochondria play a key role in the formation of the lymphatic vasculature, according to a study published in Science Advances and led by SQI faculty member Guillermo Oliver. The investigators found that the organelle controls a key autoregulatory feedback loop operating during lymphatic endothelial cell fate specification, sensing the cells' metabolic needs and local tissue environment.
Neuromorphic circuit

New brain-like computing device simulates human learning

April 30, 2021
A research team co-led by SQI faculty member Jonathan Rivnay has developed a brain-like computing device that is capable of learning by association. Similar to how famed physiologist Ivan Pavlov conditioned dogs to associate a bell with food, researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Hong Kong successfully conditioned their circuit to associate light with pressure.
Vaccine image

Membranes unlock potential to vastly increase cell-free vaccine production

April 22, 2021
By cracking open a cellular membrane, Northwestern University synthetic biologists led by SQI member Michael Jewett have discovered a new way to increase production yields of protein-based vaccines by five-fold, significantly broadening access to potentially lifesaving medicines.
Guillermo Ameer

Ameer named fellow of Materials Research Society

April 2, 2021
SQI faculty member Guillermo Ameer has been named a fellow of the Materials Research Society (MRS) for his contributions to regenerative engineering through pioneering work to develop antioxidant citrate-based polymers that are useful for musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, dermal and urological applications.